5 expert tips for lighting your video calls | Jonathan Wilson

I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite hobbies lately is surreptitiously checking out the various kitchens, studies, bedrooms, living rooms and offices of my colleagues whilst in video meetings. Don’t pretend that you don’t have a quick peek too when you’re in meetings.

My Drama colleagues have been treated to a background of flocked lilac wallpaper with unusual stripes of Magnolia, as the room is being decorated and we can’t decide what colour to go with. If your background view is equally distracting, then you might find it helpful to read these suggestions on how lighting can improve your online image.

Here are my 5 top tips to assist you in using light to make sure you present the best version of yourself when in front of your webcam and more to the point, people can see you clearly.

Natural light is best

Rooms that have an abundance of natural light are far better than dark rooms with artificial light.

Don’t sit with your back to a window or sit too near a window

This will inevitably put a glare on the screen and the lens of your camera is likely to try and compensate for all the wonderful natural light coming through the window by darkening the image slightly. This could result in you being left in the dark.

Soft straw, not harsh white LED

A lot of the new LED lights tend to be very white and without a lot of warmth to their colour. If you do have a room lit by LED lights it might not provide such a flattering light as a room lit by halogen or tungsten lighting.

Give yourself a nice back light

If you have a nice plain wall you can broadcast against, especially one that’s white or off white and near (but not too near) a window or a light source then make use of it. The wall should pick up and reflect light nicely and lift your image out from the background.

Lots of periphery light

Main room lights are better to use to illuminate you than say an angleoise or desk lamp pointed at you. A light pointed directly at you will flatten your image to the observer and make you less dynamic.

It is said that a good lighting design in the theatre is 10% planned and 90% a happy accident. Therefore experimentation is key to finding what light works best for you. You may wish to follow my example and ensure a pink spotlight is lighting you whenever you’re treading the virtual boards, or you could just spend a happy 10 minutes, laptop in hand, cruising round the rooms in your house searching out your perfect light.

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